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Post Op Pain

Posted by Victoria M on 12/29/03 at 22:56 (140892)

I had three procedures done to my left foot on Oct. 18th. I had a bunion removed and the joint pinned. I had a neuroma extracted and I had a large heel spur removed.
I am having a lot of nerve pain and I am still quite swollen. Also my foot and even my leg is very purple/red in color. The surface of my skin is extremely sentsative. I have a hard mass behind the neuroma site on the ball of my foot. I saw my Dr. today and he said I have developed a lot of scar tissue in the vacant space left behind after the removal of my neuroma. He said this occured because my neuroma was so large. He assured me that it is temporary and that he can relieve the situation by giving me injections, one of which I received today.
He also prescribed support hose to help relieve the swelling and he prescribed some lidocaine patches for me to apply to the surface of my skin to help with my surface pain.
What I am most concerned about is that this is going to be a permanent situation. I have a very high tolerance to pain so I'm afraid that this pain is not normal. Can you shed some light on all of this. Is it normal to develop scar tissue after a neuroma surgery and is there anything else I should be doing to get rid of it.
Also, I am a Geologist so I do a lot of intense hiking and mountain climbing so you can imagine I'm quite concerned with my recovery. Considering what I've had done what is a realistic timeline for recovery? I'm scheduled to take a group of students to Colorado in July to summit a couple of fourteeners and to do an extreme canyon descent... Any help or insight you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Victoria

Re: Post Op Pain

Pauline on 12/30/03 at 10:25 (140911)

Hi Victoria,
First you need to know I'm not a doctor just a poster giving you my opinion. You probably know or are beginning to realize that the foot is a very complicated area of the body especially for surgical intervention, more so that most people realize.

You've undergone three procedures, all at one time, which although gets all the cutting over with at one time, but can also provide you with multiple complications.

Every surgery will produce some scar tissue. It's the way the body heals and the amound you produce depends on your own body. Whether you have developed more than another person would have had, for the same surgery, is very difficult to determine because everyone heals differently. Personally, I feel individual results, in part, are related to the skill of your surgeon.

If you read about neuromas on the web you will find that when a nerve is cut the ends themselves heal by forming other neuromas. I suppose one could call this a form of scar tissue, but the truth of the matter is that when you remove one neuroma you form two more, one on each end of the original nerve where it was cut.

The surgeons goal is to remove the original neuroma and then bury the remaining ends of the nerve into the fatty tissue so when the nerve heals you will not feel the tiny neruomas (bulbs)that were formed.

My guess is the steroid injections your doctor is suggesting is to provide inflammation reduction to the area where your neruoma was removed. Whether it will remove scar tissue remains to be seen. I have my doubts about that statement, but I can assure you it will help to decrease the inflammation in the area.

It can take a good deal of time to recover fully from foot surgery sometimes up to a year, but there are no guarantees that come with it to say you will be completely pain free afterwards.

It's two months following your surgery and you certainly have a right to be concerned about your symptoms. I suggest you keep the line of communication open between you and your surgeon, make lists of questions before each return visit and call him between appointments as often as necessary to control your pain and secure some peace of mind.

Make certain you keep a close watch of the color change that has taken place on your foot and leg. It could be just bruising or it could indicate something more serious is going on. Make sure he checks it ofen especially if you see no improvement or it begins to look worse, negatively change with streaks going up your leg, throb or your pain increases in anyway. It's better to find out your fears are unwarranted than to find out treatment should have been provided to you sooner.

Hopefully a lot of your post surgical pain will disappear, but it's up to you now to keep on top of your healing progress and make your concerns very clear to your surgeon.

If your concerns go unheard and your still in pain go for a second opinion. My guess is that your own doctor will eventually refer you to a pain clinic for pain control when all is said and done. After reading the surgical board on this site for over 3 years it seems to be a normal chain of events following a lot of foot surgery. In my opinion, it's happening far tooooo often, but thank God for Pain Clinics they provide a wonderful service for patients in pain. Not the best outcome one would want or expect from a surgery that was suppose to make things better, but at least some long awaited pain relief.

I wish you a lot of luck in your recovery process.

Re: Post Op Pain

Victoria M on 12/31/03 at 13:28 (141015)


Thanks so much for the rapid response and the advice. I'll be sure to take it to heart. Hopefully, time will heal things and it will not be necessary for me to seek help from a pain clinic. Thanks Again. Victoria